How Are Assault And Battery Charges Defined In Massachusetts?
An assault is also referred to as an attempted battery. For example, if you try to hit someone, but you don’t make contact (i.e. miss), that is an assault. Assault can also be where you make a threatening action towards a person, with the purpose of causing them to be in fear that they are going to be hit. For example, when you raise your fist to a person in a way that makes them think you are going to punch them in the face.
Battery is defined as an intentional, unwanted touching. Most people think it is strictly being punched, kicked, or something like that. However, other touchings can also be a battery. For instance, if you spit on someone, that will be considered a battery.
Also with regard to battery, if you do something reckless, which causes someone to be hit, that is a battery. Even if you did not intend to hit anyone it will be considered battery, as long as you intended the initial reckless act to happen. For example, you throw something out of a window to a crowded street. If you hit someone on the street it will be considered a battery.
Are There Different Levels Of An Assault And Battery Charge?
There are different types of assault and battery charges in Massachusetts. Simple assault and battery charges are both misdemeanors. However, there are other types which have enhanced penalties. Some examples of this would include, cases where you caused serious bodily injury; or commit an assault and battery on a pregnant person; or on a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend; or a person under age fourteen; or a person over the age of sixty; or a mentally handicapped person; or if you use a dangerous weapon; or if you commit an indecent assault and battery; or on a person that has an active restraining order against you. There are additional crimes if you commit assault, and battery upon either a police officer, or any other public service employee. These all carry greater penalties and most are considered felonies.
How Serious Is An Assault Charge If There Is A Restraining Order Against The Accused?
An assault and/or battery charge can be very serious if there is an active domestic restraining order. Restraining orders are civil orders that are issued in cases where a person is ordered to stay away from, not abuse, and/or have no contact with the person who sought the order. The person who seeks the order must be a family or household member; related by blood or marriage; and/or be in a substantive dating relationship with the person against whom they are seeking the restraining order. In order to get a restraining order, the person seeking it must demonstrate to a judge that they are in imminent fear for their safety. You will have the opportunity to contest the issuance of a restraining order at a hearing. However, once it is issued and it has been served upon you, any violations become a separate criminal offense. Further, if someone commits an assault and battery upon a person who has an active restraining order against them, there is an enhanced penalty of up to fifteen years in state prison. This crime is a felony in Massachusetts.
What is Considered Domestic Assault and Battery?
Domestic violence occurs where you commit an assault and/or battery on a family member, household member or on someone with whom you are in a substantive dating relationship. Until recently, Massachusetts did not have a separate crime or definition for domestic assault and battery. It just fell within the normal assault and battery statute. However, Massachusetts has enacted what we refer to as assault and battery on a household member. Interestingly, it does not mean what you think. It does not mean you commit assault and battery on a family member, a roommate, or anyone like that.
This crime only applies to married couples or those involved in a substantive dating relationship. It is strictly limited to situations concerning spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends. This crime includes enhanced penalties, including a requirement that any person placed on any kind of probation for this crime must enter and complete a certified batterer’s intervention program.
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